Rodent S100A4 (p9Ka) induces a metastatic phenotype in benign rat mammary tumour cells and cooperates with the neu oncogene to produce metastatic tumours in a transgenic mouse model system. Human S100A4 possesses similar metastasis-inducing properties. S100A4 mRNA is now sought in human breast tumour-derived cell lines and tumour specimens. S100A4 mRNA is present in some cell lines derived from malignant breast cancers, but is not detectable in cells derived from benign breast tumours. In human tumour specimens, using in situ hybridisation, the mRNA for S100A4 is localised to the epithelial cells of carcinoma specimens, and in some normal breast specimens, to a stromal region surrounding the epithelial ducts. In carcinoma specimens, S100A4 mRNA is also found in the stromal region surrounding islands of cancer cells. For both the epithelial and stromal components, S100A4 mRNA is present at a higher level in carcinomas relative to benign breast tumour specimens. In general, there is a concordance between the S100A4 mRNA signal from the epithelial and stromal elements of the same carcinoma specimens. Using Northern blotting techniques, these results have been extended to a panel of 137 benign and malignant breast tumour specimens. The results show that S100A4 mRNA occurs in the more-malignant, rather than in the more-benign tumour specimens.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.